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New PDF release: Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our

By Derek Bickerton

ISBN-10: 0809028166

ISBN-13: 9780809028160

Bastard Tongues is an exhilarating, firsthand tale of clinical discovery in a space of analysis on the subject of the center of what it skill to be human—what language is, the way it works, and the way it passes from new release to iteration, even the place historic injuries have made basic transmission virtually most unlikely. the tale makes a speciality of languages so low within the pecking order that many folks don’t regard them as languages at all—Creole languages spoken via descendants of slaves and indentured employees in plantation colonies all around the world. The tale is advised by means of Derek Bickerton, who has spent greater than thirty years gaining knowledge of those languages on 4 continents and constructing a debatable conception that explains why they're so just like each other. a broadcast novelist, Bickerton (once defined as “part student, half swashbuckling guy of action”) doesn't current his findings within the traditional dry educational demeanour. as an alternative, you turn into a spouse on his trip of discovery. You research issues as he discovered them, proportion his disappointments and triumphs, discover the unique locales the place he labored, and meet the colourful characters he encountered alongside the way in which. the result's a distinct mix of memoir, travelogue, heritage, and linguistics primer, beautiful to somebody who has ever puzzled how languages develop or what it’s wish to seek the realm for brand new wisdom.

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Extra info for Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages

Example text

His modus operandi was both brilliant and typically Ian. He had found out the catch-22 for white folk learning a Creole. If you try to speak it yourself, you are regarded as patronizing if not down~ right insulting and people clam up on you. If on the other hand you address them in English, then they speak something as close to English as they can. To get around this, he posed as a French sailor who knew not a word of English but had managed to pick up a tie Krio. So the only way they could talk,to him was in Krio and they had no reason to modify whatever they normally spoke.

I guessed, again correctly, that the distribution would be skewed, giving the possibility of black majorities locally. Bingo, I thought. If Creole Spanish exists anywhere, it'll be here. At the Mona conference, I asked everyone if they'd ever heard B 51 BASTARD TONGUES COLOMBIA BEFORE COCAINE of anything that might possibly be a Creole or semi-creolized form of Spanish in Colombia. Nobody had. Bill Stewart, who looked more like a tugboat skipper than a prof, claimed to have heard some funny-sounding Spanish when he was hanging out in Santa Marta, near the east end of Colombia's north coast, but that was all the information I got.

And one of the best places to see them from is the University of Hawaii, especially on days, and they are frequent, when trade winds blow a tine mist of rain across the KO'blau Mountains and the slant beams of a late afternoon sun cut through it. This lovely campus with its ugly buildings would be base camp throughout my career as an Ameri­ can academic. I only gradually came to realize how ill-equipped I was for such T a role. Anyone who'd gone to graduate school in America would have mentors-older scholars who had taught them, who had a vested interest in their careers, who would use their influence to advance those careers in a dozen ways.

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Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages by Derek Bickerton

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